Curriculum-related booklists for independent reading
Use CurriConnects to find books related to curriculum topics or subject areas. Build student literacy skills, reinforce the place of curriculum concepts in other contexts, and help students build the important reading strategy of connecting what they read to prior knowledge. Share CurriConnects as links on your class web page or wiki or share them with school and local libraries where students can select books to accompany what they are studying.
CurriConnects lists include ISBN numbers for ordering or searching, interest grade levels, ESL levels and Lexiles® to match with student independent reading levels to challenge, not frustrate. Learn more about Lexiles® and how they pinpoint student reading levels here. See ideas for using the Curriconnects lists here.
TeachersFirst will continue to add more lists, so check back. If you have a specific topic suggestion, feel free to contact us via our webmaster account, subject line: “CurriConnects suggestion.”
Leaders come in all places, times, ages, and genders. Some quietly set an example as they forge new paths into the unknown so others may follow. Others rally people around them to conquer challenges together. Still others create new ways for people to share common experiences and build communities of ideas. This list of leaders includes a wide sampling from politics to literature and the arts to entertainment. Use this list as you study any topic that features leaders: the founding fathers, famous scientists, and more. Encourage students to read about leaders in diverse fields - including the one you are studying -- to compare and discuss what makes someone a successful leader and why people rise to the top among their peers across time, place, and circumstance.
|20th Century America, Part 1 (1900-1945)|
What was life like in 20th century America? Explore the major events and watershed moments, as well as everyday life during the decades. Read both fiction and nonfiction titles about times that brought the Model T, an influenza epidemic, and flappers. Dig deep into the Depression and life during wartimes. This list features mostly middle school and high school level books, but does include some at elementary levels, as well. Let students choose a book in an area of interest during the 20th century and share with the class about times long before they were born.
|20th Century America, Part 2 (1945-2000)|
Most students don't know about 2000, let alone 1950! Explore America after World War II with this list. Read nonfiction and fiction describing both happy and sad decades in American History. This list includes books on famous presidents such as JFK, Clinton, and others. Learn about the tumultuous 60s, the decade of Woodstock, the Civil Rights movement, and Vietnam. Follow the first footsteps into cyberspace and the exploding digital era of the final decades of this incredible century. The list includes books for all ages, though, there are slightly more titles for middle and high school students. Allow students to choose books that relate to a time period or event they have heard their parents discuss or one they are interested in learning more about. For a fun timeline, share the Song "We Didn't Start the Fire" by Billy Joel (lyrics here).
|Adventures in Summer|
Summertime brings many adventures: vacations, camp, wild weather, fireworks, and more! Travel aboard a cruise ship, explore a mysterious island, learn about summer weather, meet some tiny creatures living in hotels, and make this a summer reading adventure to remember. This collection of books offers both fiction and information texts. Allow students (or partners) to choose their own book. Share this book list with students (and families) prior to the summer break. Keep minds fresh during the summer.
|Alaska and Hawaii|
Travel through books to the forty-ninth and fiftieth states. Every state boasts culture and history of its own, and these two have extra rich offerings. Discover their history, people, and culture, both historic and contemporary, through both fiction and nonfiction. Challenge your students to flip their view of the "Lower 48" or "Big America" (the contiguous states) through the experience of Alaska and/or Hawaii. Include these books during units on states, multiculturalism, or U.S. geography.
|Animals and Habitats|
Journey to lands both near and far, exploring animals galore as you go. This collection of books teaches students about a wide variety of animals (owls, monkeys, ants, and more). The books also describe various habitats around the world. Travel through the outback of Australia; journey through the chilly Arctic; and learn about the animals and their habitats. Visit the savannah, the wetlands, the desert, and more. This collection could accompany a unit about animals, weather, habitats, landforms, or other topics. Some of these books would also connect well when teaching units (or classes) on character, friendship, coping strategies, and more. These books provide experience with both fiction and nonfiction informational texts. They often require students to draw inferences about the "facts." Allow students (or partners) to choose their own book. Challenge students to create presentations or small group projects to share their stories.
|Award Winning Books|
There are many awards for excellent children's books. This list includes winners of many awards, including the Caldecott Medal, Newbery Medal, Boston Globe/Horn Book Award, and the Coretta Scott King Book Award. Although the topics vary, the level of quality is consistently the same. Develop your students' love of reading using these fabulous books. This collection could accompany a unit about famous authors and texts. These books provide experience with both fiction and nonfiction informational texts. This list is ideal for book reports or projects. Allow students (or partners) to choose their own book. Challenge students to create presentation or small group projects to share their story.
|Books for Tough Situations|
Help students cope with difficult situations by suggesting reading selections to help. Find books about divorce, death, an absent or deployed parent, moving, a lost pet, difficulty making friends, bullying, failure, eating disorders, weight, and other emotional and psychological challenges.
|Bridges and Structures|
Learn how bridges and other structures are built, the people behind them, and the risks some people take in pioneering new ways of building, using new materials, or thinking outside the building box. You will even find some stories of structures that failed. Share this list with students during your study of physics of structures, design, or basic concepts such as gravity. Some fiction, and some non-fiction, all will inspire young designers and engineers. Have students choose a book they can connect to concepts you are studying in science class or have them choose a book of interest and generate a list of the questions they would like to learn about after reading the book. The non-fiction selections offer possible informational texts to practice Common Core science literacy skills. For more on text complexity and Lexiles®, see this information from the Lexile Framework.
|By the People|
"Government of the people, by the people, and for the people..." Being a citizen of the U.S. requires that we learn how our government works and take part in that process. These books include topics such as with what it means to be a citizen, how our government works, and the tough decisions that people make -- both citizens and those who work in government. Discover civics-related topics such as voting, creating laws, enforcing laws, and the underlying principles of democracy. The collection includes both true and fictional tales about communities and government and books for all grade levels. Encourage students to select independent reading from this list as part of a citizenship unit, as a focus for Constitution Day, or in a civics/government class.
|Childhood Here and There|
Growing up is not the same everywhere. What is "typical" for the kids at your school may seem odd or to those who grew up somewhere else. What was typical for our grandparents is not the same as what is typical today. American kids think everyone has electronics. City kids think everyone knows how to take a bus. Country kids think everyone grows up with animals or woods to play in. Some kids spend their time on "screens," while others may spend it in streams. Some kids choose their own activities while others are told what they will do. Some have hours of homework, others do not even have schools.
This collection of books shares tales of childhood in many cultures and countries. Include these books for independent reading during a unit on world cultures, in a guidance class about differences, or in a reading unit about drawing inferences. Spark discussions about what we assume is "normal" and what we should realize about our own upbringing. The conversations will easily evolve into projects where students can compare and contrast or create "profiles" of childhood in different places and cultures.
|Civil War and Slavery|
As you study the Civil War and slavery, let students select books from this collection of fiction and historical fiction. As we honor the 150th anniversary of many Civil War events, what better way for students to make a more personal connection to the people who lived during those tumultuous times.
|Colonial America and the Revolution|
All history can seem "ancient" unless you connect to it personally. Understand the American colonies and American Revolution by choosing a book to help you connect with the times. This list includes fiction and nonfiction books about life in the American colonies and during the American Revolution as well as books about leaders and major locations of this historic period.
This collection features books about oceans, weather, and geology. Share it in connection with science in general or specifically to complement earth science curriculum.
Enjoy historical fiction and non-fiction about European and other explorers. This list fits well during the study of world wide exploration or at the beginning of an American History course.
|Flight and Things that Fly|
Learn how things fly--either by nature or human engineering! Read about birds, aircraft, and the people who have pioneered human flight. The Wright Brothers were not the only ones who took to the sky! Read about the many ways that people have used flying machines and the many creatures that fly. How does flight work? Share this list with students during your study of physics of flight and aerodynamics. Include it during study of sophisticated engineering design or of basic concepts such as gravity and air flow. As you study animal adaptations and the differences among species, look closely at how birds fly and how man-made flying machines mimic some of their capabilities. Some fiction, and some non-fiction, all these books will inspire young aviators, animal scientists, designers, and engineers. Have students choose a book they can connect to concepts you are studying in science class or have them choose a book of interest and generate a list of questions they would like to investigate further. The non-fiction selections offer possible informational texts to practice Common Core science literacy skills. This list is particularly rich in offerings for elementary and middle school, with some offerings for high school level readers, as well.
|Frontiers and Settlers|
Discover historical fiction and non-fiction about colonists and settlers involved in westward expansion, and settlers in Alaska. Use this list as you study the frontier spirit or any of several time periods when the U.S. was growing and changing.
These books explore the roles that landforms and the unique features of our earth play in our lives. These books include mountains, oceans, mesas, rivers, deserts, islands, etc. that play a major part in the lives of the characters. Use this CurriConnects list to complement your study of landforms and geography in general.
|Immigrants and Immigration|
Discover fiction about life as an immigrant in America. Use this list as you study any of several time periods when the U.S. experienced waves of immigrants or for literature circles about multiculturalism and the immigrant experience in the U.S.
Scientists, inventors, race car drivers, and athletes all apply the laws of motion to move quickly, defy gravity, or streamline their movements. Find books, both fiction and nonfiction, featuring real world applications of Newton's Laws. You won't have to force students to read when there are so many choices! Incorporate these books during units on forces, motions, gravity, physical movement (P.E. or dance), and more. Most of the books are at elementary and middle school interest levels, but some selections for more able readers are included. Be sure to check ESL and Lexile levels.
|Inventors and Inventions|
Enjoy these books about inventors throughout history. Some inventors may be lesser known, and some are the typical ones found in curriculum.
|Light and Color|
Enjoy these books of photographs and about photography in conjunction with art classes and in science as you learn about light and the spectrum. The list includes nonfiction about light and how it works. The interest levels are predominantly elementary and middle school but include selections for more able readers. Have students choose a book they can connect to your light unit in science, to art projects, or simply a book of interest. Extend the experience by having them collect their own photographs as examples of the concepts they learn. Share projects using one of these reviewed presentation tools from the TeachersFirst Edge. The non-fiction selections offer possible informational texts to practice Common Core science literacy skills. For more on text complexity and Lexiles®, see this information from the Lexile Framework.
Read all about efforts to live green and do what is good for our environment. These books tell about people who are DOING something more than complain about the environmental damage cause by poor human behavior. Help your students discover ideas to make a difference and contribute to positive change. As they select from this list, they will have many opportunities to interact and find meaning from informational texts. This list is ideal during April for Earth Day or as you study the environment--or even geography and human impact on our planet.
These books include a map or maps as part of the plot, especially maps that the reader must use to help find the answer, solve the mystery, etc. The list includes both fiction and non-fiction. Use this list as a complement to your study of map skills and geography.
|Math in Use|
This extensive list includes books about mathematicians, architects, and engineers. These are the people who apply numbers to accomplish great things. Some accomplishments include historic feats.
|Medicine and Health|
Browse these biographies and non-fiction choices about people and places in medicine and medical research, including those who made scientific discoveries or pioneered new ways of treating disease. This list is a great complement to any science or health class.
|Money, Money, Money|
Count up these books about entrepreneurs, consumer skills, shop-owners, and real people in the world of economics or consumerism. This is a great match for units on money at any level.
|Music and Musicians|
Dance to the beat with books about musicians, composers, and the way they make music. This list includes fiction and nonfiction books, as well as books about instruments and how they are made. Take note of music and the people who make it -- from long ago until today. This list includes books for ALL levels. Share it during Music in Your Schools Month (March) or even during a unit on sound in your science classes. Bring the Arts into STEM to make STEAM!
Natural disasters are a fascination for many students, but they can offer a new angle on many science and social studies topics, as well as current events. We can talk about WHY they happen and/or the results afterward: How did communities change? What did people do in response? This collection of books could accompany a unit on earth science, weather, or even communities and government as your students look at how disasters affect people and how individuals or governments respond to adversity. These books would also connect well to a character education or guidance unit about dealing with crisis. You could even include this list with a geography unit about differences in weather, climate, and landforms around the world. These books provide experience with both nonfiction informational texts and fiction that requires students to draw inferences about the "facts." If having students read independently, you may want to pose a big question or two related to your curriculum for them to think about as they read. Have them return and share their answers after reading, perhaps as a presentation or small group project.
|Poets and Poetry|
Share these poetry books, biographies of poets, and poets' books about writing to make poetry more approachable and enjoyable for readers of all interests. This list will fit well during National Poetry Month or any unit on poetry. Finding Lexiles® for poetry can be a challenge, but this list includes them where available. Have your students "collect" their favorite poems as they read from this list and share them as a multimedia poetry reading using copyright-friendly images or even their own artwork. Upload images and add the poetry in the student's own voice using a reviewed presentation tool from the TeachersFirst Edge. Go "low tech" by hosting a live poetry reading celebration in your classroom or during lunch in the school cafeteria.
|Real Life in Wartime|
What was it like for ordinary people to live during wartime? This collection of books shares how real people experienced the conflicts of the 20th century: two World Wars, the Korean Conflict, the Vietnam War, and smaller conflicts/crises. Explore the human experience of civilian life during wartime, through the eyes of those who lived it. This list can help students add a layer of human reality to the "facts" they study about wars that to them seem "long ago and far way." Go beyond the textbook by encouraging students to choose a book to make connections. Encourage them to share what they learn through writings, fictitious blog posts, or creative presentations using tools from the TeachersFirst Edge.
|Solar System and Space|
Launch into books about space and space exploration. Delve into black holes, or get to know famous astronomers. This list includes books at all levels from young "astronauts to be" to high school space scholars. Include this booklist as you count down to a unit on space so each student can do some personal exploration - and sharing. There are books at all interest and reading levels, so every student can reach for the stars.
|Taking Care of Me|
Encourage students to discover healthy habits and personal wellness as they enjoy a good book. This collection of mostly fiction offerings includes books about eating healthy, staying healthy, fitness, wellness, and healthy approaches to sports. There is nothing like a positive story to elevate our aspirations for ourselves. This list is especially deep in offerings for upper elementary and middle school students.
|The Artist's Eye|
Feast your eyes on Caldecott winners and books with unusual or beautiful layout or illustrations. The list also includes books about art or artists. This is a wonderful way to include Art in your reading.
|The Way Things Work|
Experience science applied in the real world with these books about the how and why of the way things work. Some fiction, and some non-fiction, all will appeal to your curiosity and inspire young designers and engineers. Have students choose a book they can connect to concepts you are studying in science class or have them choose a book of interest and generate a list of the questions they would like to learn about after reading the book. The non-fiction selections offer possible informational texts to practice Common Core science literacy skills. For more on text complexity and Lexiles®, see this information from the Lexile Framework.
|USA Regional Books|
Discover books about each of the fifty United States and some U.S. regions. Move your students beyond state facts by encouraging them to select independent reading books to immerse them in the life of the state. This extensive list is sorted by state, with books listed in ascending level "bands" within each state. Listings include ESL and Lexile® levels so every student can read successfully. Go beyond state "reports" to state experiences.
|Weather, Climate, and Earth's Atmosphere|
Brace yourself for the weather in these books about storm phenomena, weather disasters, climate change, and weather's causes and effects. Encourage students to select from this list for independent reading during a unit on disasters, weather, or the Earth's atmosphere. They will "weather" tornadoes, hurricanes, blizzards, and more. Keep this list handy when major storms fill the news, as well. Help students make sense of current weather events.
|What Do You Do?|
Books about people in different and widely varied careers, including non-traditional ones and lesser-known ones.